Haribubu and the Magic Number (Tales From Zaria, Zazzau and Zungeru)
Once upon a time in the land of Gogobiri and Kukawa Country lived a handsome young prince known then as Haribubu.
Haribubu, though from the Province of Kata Sinatu had risen to become the Prince and Pride of the People of Zaria, Zazzau and Zungeru, and largely because of his prowess at being a warrior. So secure were the people with Haribubu, so traveled was his legend that it was said from one end of the world to the other that Haribubu had the ability to slay seven demons with a single smite of his right hand.
In the modern world this would be the equivalent of a Mike Tyson right-hook, but this was in ancient times and as ancient warriors go, Haribubu's story was unparalleled. But as you will find, going forward, the only thing constant is change. And so it was that as Gogobiri and Kukawa grew into a mighty empire, known to the uninitiated as Songahi-tu, the need for Haribubu's manner of security diminished.
Soon, with generational change and a kinder, gentler world came talk of “concerns” about Haribubu's right hand. Smiting seven demons, the Liberals of the Hausa politicians said, was inhumane. Especially with one stroke of the right hand. Demons, after all, were well-intended but merely the product of an unfortunate upbringing and only needed to be cuddled, loved and nourished to bring out the best in them.
Thus, Haribubu's Mike Tyson right-hook was eventually deemed, by the very children of the people he had so effectively secured for years, “inhumane.” He would have to use “human rights” they said or, even better yet, not fight demons again. Soon the clamor was too much and Haribubu, unaccustomed to using Human Rights to slay demons from the bowels of hell, went into a great depression and wondered the earth for three generations whilst his beloved Gogobiri and Kukawa changed… fundamentally.
One day on his journeys Haribubu was approached by an entourage of distressed Hausa. Said they, “Our beloved homeland has been overrun by demons and only you can help us”. Haribubu asked, “Am I still restricted to Human Rights?” “Technically, yes” the people said. “Then I cannot help you.” “But there is a way,” one of the citizens said, “There is a magic number that the demons flee from. But only you has the wherewithal to use this number.” “This… magic number, the one I shall use in lieu of human rights” Haribubu earnestly inquired, “where shall I find it?” “There are two princes, Deloitte and Touche of the Kingdom of Europa, they shall give it to you. But only one of your caliber.”
And so it came to pass that the warrior Haribubu found the Princes of Europa, Deloitte and Touche and was given access to this magic number. And with it he slew the demons that had overtaken Gogobiri and Kukawa country and restored it to the admirable empire of Songahi-tu.
Now, bomboy, I know what you are saying. I know what you are saying. You are saying, “na wish kine tori be dis wan?” I sabi nah. No be me tell ahn? So allow me to help you clarify what you seem not to be aware of.
Over the years I have been overly critical of Nigeria's opposition; not because they have not been organized, but because they have lacked focus. As a republic is defined by representation, a democracy is defined by its opposition. And with such distinguished members, one would have expected Nigeria's opposition to have been the catalyst that has moved us into the future.
Yet here we are in 2015 still searching for basics, when India is orbiting Mars. We do not get ashamed. When people ask me what I would have focused on had I been at the head of any opposition movement I indicate that given the platform and microphone our distinguished opposition leaders have had, we should quite easily have focused on doing—but in the proper way—what it is that Barrack Obama is attempting in America. Barrack is attempting to redistribute wealth and break the hegemony of the one percent whose gross seems to increase exponentially at every accounting whilst the poor become even poorer.
In the case of Nigeria, the journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. There is enough money in Nigeria to go round and if it becomes the case that a single resource is unable to furnish our sovereign needs, the pressure will then force the cartel to open up the economy.
What do I mean by this?
Let me ask you a simple kestion, then, bomboy. How many barrels of oil were lifted last week Monday? How about Wednesday? Thursday nko?
When people say that NNPC was designed to be corrupt, a la JP Morgan accounts and the inability of well-studied Central Bank governors to figure out what should be a simple money trail, it is because Nigerians do not behave like people wey get sense. The oil does not belong to the government. It belongs to the Nigerian people. So why is it that you cannot tell me EXACTLY how many barrels of oil were lifted on any given day?
Recently Nigeria won some award from the Extractive Science people and I thought it was a joke. Maybe they were trying to incentivize us. Since DAY ONE of the Obasanjo regime, I have asked about what oyibo calls “metering”. This is a very simple process whereby each time a specific amount of oil has flowed through the retrieving pipe from the source, it is logged.
At the end of every day, this log gives us an EXACT accounting of how much oil flowed from the source through that pipe. It is a very technically simple process. No great challenge to overcome I promise you. But I dare you, I double dare you, I triple dare you to try to find out that number from Nigerian sources.
Na then you go sabi say no be only Urhobo get wayo. Den go take you play football like say you be Stephen Keshi! So WHY, why have our opposition leaders, since the eighties at least, not put pressure on this magic number. Think about it. If EVERY oil extracting resource was mandated, by an amended constitution, to show the Nigerian people at the end of every day—since it belongs to them—how many cubic meters of oil flowed through, then bunkering would not be a problem.
Just like we all did during these recent elections, every day we shall take this magic number of barrels of Sweet Crude, multiply am by the price of oil on that day, and add am to the tally. By the end of each year, every Nigerian should then be carrying a card with the SAME singular number, added daily from the price of a barrel per day and how many barrels in total flowed through the primary extraction units, a number that OBVIOUSLY ought to be made public.
If, at that point, Madam Madueke now begins to yarn spre spre, na him we go sabi how much dem bunker. Otherwise, what we have is the sort of tragic circumstance that played out with Jonathan and Sanusi and the once highly regarded Okonjo-Iweala, who with a straight face threw Sanusi under the bus and defended the fantastic corruption of our Ijaw brother, Jon-Jon the Izon.
Now here comes Buhari, and the world is optimistic. They say he is a stern man and does not suffer fools. But let us see if he will consider us fools. Ask Sai Buhari if what I have said is possible, since the oil belongs to the people of Nigeria. Ask him if from the primary extractive unit we can accurately gauge exactly how many barrels of oil in total were lifted on any given day and if at the end of the year ALL Nigerians should have, on their oil score card, the same number that is our national income.
But let me tell you what you don't know. Na all wayo. Just like Jon-Jon and the Pindipi, the APC go play you close like butter play toast. Na biggie smalls yarn am! Dem go bluff you. Waste your time. Look left. Look right. Yarn dis and yarn dat.
And in the end, no magic number to slay the demons. No way to restore the legendary Gogobiri and Kukawa Country into the Empire of Songahi-tu. No way for transparency to rear its ugly head in our wayo driven country. And like every other president before him, Haribubu shall remain, to the beaten-down people of Nigeria, another fairy tale. We await him to prove me wrong. I shall gladly lose that argument.